DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Second part of The Script Series.
The graveyard is quiet, and she's not sure if she expects anything else.
It's a graveyard, she tells herself, her hand gripping the roses she's carrying a little tighter. A stray thorn pierces her palm, but she doesn't jump or wince, because she doesn't notice it until she puts the roses down and she sees the red the blood pooling in her hand.
She hasn't really felt anything since Natalia said yes.
Before that really, when she saw Frank on one knee with an expectant smile on his face and Natalia watching her through the window.
She should have yelled "don't do it" when she still had the chance.
Her knees hit the dirt before she can stop herself and she wonders if this is how Natalia does it just drops to the ground, letting the hard ground be her penance; just takes it as her punishment.
"Hi," she whispers to Gus's plaque in the ground, feeling anger coarse through her body at lightning speed.
She hates him for this; for Natalia.
It's his fault, because his heart is polluting her body, making her feel things that she would have never felt if she didn't have his heart.
She could have gotten any heart and got the heart of the man she loved, who was in love with the most intolerable women she'd ever met. Natalia was intolerable and because of Gus' heart, she feels everything he felt; all the love and pride and potential and hope.
She feels it all and she wishes she didn't have to.
"Well thanks a lot, cause now I have this great big love that I have no idea what to do with." Her stomach twists.
She has every idea what to do with it. And it involves moving all of her stuff her daughter included back into the farmhouse and spending every day of the rest of her life with Natalia.
Except, Natalia is going to spend every day of the rest of her life with Frank and now the only thing Olivia can do is bitch about it the thing that's her fault to a dead man who doesn't even have a heart in his body.
Gus doesn't say anything, but she can see her reflection in the metal of his memorial plaque. Her eyes are rimmed with red, stained with the permanence of never getting her happy ending. If he were here now, standing over her with his cockeyed grin and his smooth voice, he'd tell her she was being ridiculous. He'd tell her that she should do something; get out of the graveyard and find Natalia.
"I, I don't know what to do," she whispers into her hands. "Because it's breaking Gus. My heart your heart, its breaking. And I can feel it now, spreading inside of me like poison, all because of her."
And for the umpteenth time but the first time in a long time since she's gotten the heart of the man she thought she loved, she hates the world for it.
She hates Natalia for signing those forms.
She hates Gus for coming to see her.
She hates Gus for dying.
She hates Emma for giving her a reason to live.
She hates Natalia for everything.
"I don't think I can do this anymore Gus. How, how do I believe in something if it just get's taken away from? How do I believe that there's a God who thinks its okay for me, for her, to be miserable?" Her voice catches and she chokes down a sob, her hands shaking rapidly.
"How do you believe in God like that? How am I supposed to believe that some higher power wants this from us? What, is this a test? Am I being tested?" Now her entire body shakes, rattling the loose change in her pocket, her vision swimming through tears.
"Your God sucks," she mutters bitterly.
In the back of her mind, Natalia is scolding her and Emma is frowning and Gus is grinning like an idiot, because if there was one thing he truly did love about her, it was her sarcasm.
Only her sarcasm.
Because he loved Natalia, through and through and she didn't understand it then, but now, after everything she finally gets why Gus was always in love with Natalia.
Because Natalia is everything: lazy Sundays and Friday movie nights; Monday morning coffee and late afternoon meeting that make her want to pull her hair our; relaxing dinners and hectic Wednesday mornings when Emma's lunch isn't made. Natalia is the reason she gets up anymore and her smile each night.
Gus knew the same feeling.
And at the end of the day, both of them are going to have lost that.
"Gus," she pleads. "You always knew what to do. I just how did you do it?"
She takes a shuddering breath and tries to calm her heart down. "How did you let her go the first time? How did you leave her in Chicago, all by herself?"
Gus says nothing, just lays, six feet under, probably smiling, definitely dead.
"How did I let her go?"
But she knows the answer to that. She knows that she just needs to give up and let it go. It won't be like before she won't make Natalia hate her, she won't push her any farther away then she's already done, she won't ignore her or sleep with Frank.
She won't be spiteful or angry.
She'll just let go.
Slowly, sadly, hopelessly, but she'll do it. She'll stand behind Natalia at the altar and she'll take her bouquet from her and she'll smile and nod and cry when Frank kisses Natalia, just the rest of the audience.
And she'll let go.
She'll take her daughter back to the Beacon and maybe she'll tell Emma that they're going to take a road trip and they can leave and start over somewhere else. Or she can stay in Springfield and watch as little Frank Cooper look-a-likes with dark hair and dark eyes run through town on angel's wings.
Either way, it starts with her letting go; with her giving up.
Christ Gus, she wants to scream at the top of her lungs.
She wants to tell this God that everyone believes in, that he's an idiot and a manipulator and cruel. She wants to tell him that he's an awful God, that he shouldn't be able to pick and choose who gets to be happy for the rest of their lives. He shouldn't be in charge of something like that.
Because it means that she loses the one thing she didn't realize she was missing.
"I know," she finally admits. "She's going to get married and I'm going to stand there and watch her walk away from me forever. I know."
It's her fate: she's wasted all her chances at love, with Prince Richard and Josh and Bill and Buzz and Phillip. She wasted all of her chances and then Natalia comes along and the illusion of another possibility, of maybe having a sixth chance at love, and she fell for it.
She fell for Natalia.
"But you know what?" she asks the empty graveyard. "That's okay. That's okay, because I have finally learned how to put someone else first, and. And I learned that with her."
Natalia taught her so much.
She taught her how to stand again when she was too weak. She taught her how to fight for the right things. She taught her how to love, how to care, how to appreciate.
Natalia taught her about heartbreak and loss and wanting.
And maybe that's not God's fault.
It's probably her own.
She had so many chances to say it but she chickened out or held it in or someone knocked or she thought she was being the strong one, when she should have been down on her knees, begging Natalia to love her.
"I've got to let her go, don't I?"
If Gus were here, he would say yes, you need to let her go and she would listen.
She will listen.
"I can do this Gus. I can let her go."
But even as she says the words, she knows they're not true.
Sure, she'll be able to stand beside Natalia while she married Frank, and yes, she'll dance at the reception. She'll smile for the pictures and twirl Emma around on her feet and she'll pat Rafe on the back and congratulate him on his return and his new father.
She'll play the best friend.
"I'll do it Gus," she whispers, getting to her feet, brushing the dirt off her knees. "I'll do it for her."
She loves Natalia, enough to give her away, enough to want everything to be perfect for her.
Enough to lose her.
Natalia's voice startles her and she takes a second to make sure her eyes are dry before turning around.
"Hey, shouldn't you be at the church?" Natalia opens her mouth to protest, but Olivia knows, if she lets that happen, they'll never make it past this graveyard and Olivia will say everything she shouldn't, everything that no bride wants to hear before they get married. "No, not another word."
Natalia's mouth snaps shut and Olivia can feel her heart break even more, because she thought Natalia might at least try to fight her on it; try to fight for her.
"Let's go get you married," she says, hoping her voice isn't shaking as bad it feels like it is.
She almost grabs Natalia's hand, but her own hand is shaking, so she just marches away from Gus with her head held high.
She's going to be able to do this.
She has to be able to do this.
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